How to use numbers in your resume

use numbers in your resume

Using numbers in your resume is one of the best ways to get a hiring manager’s attention. Here’s how to include numbers to impress.

Competition for jobs is fierce thanks to the economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The more ways you can stand out, the better.

One good way to up the wow factor, and get the hiring manager’s attention, is to fill your resume with numbers. These are figures and metrics showing the quantifiable results of your accomplishments. They help hiring managers understand the value you will bring to their company, which is what it’s all about. At the end of the day, what you need to do is demonstrate that you will cost significantly less than you will contribute.

This is something you should already be doing where possible, instead of just listing your “duties and responsibilities” in the experience section. “duties and responsibilities” are boring. Accomplishments are exciting. If you’re not already including numbers in your resume, start now.

Here are some examples of types of numbers you can include and how to quantify them.

Financial and sales numbers

If you increased revenue or reduced spending, quantify those achievements with numbers.

  • Increased revenue by X%
  • Reduced costs by X%
  • Came in at X% under budget
  • Increased sales by X%
  • Increased upsells by X%

Time is money, so time saved is money saved. Any reduction in hours spent on a task is something to include. Examples:

  • Saved X hours per week on X task
  • Reduced customer wait times by X%
  • Improved efficiency by X%

Growing an online audience, a subscriber list, a social media following, the number of conference attendees – all these show that you have increased the number of people engaging with a business. Examples:

  • Grew newsletter list by XXXX subscribers
  • Increased Instagram followers by X% or X number of people
  • Increased number of conference attendees by XXX
  • Increased occupancy by X% (like at a spa, salon, or hotel)
  • Increased conference attendance by X,XXX
Things you manage

This can be things like people or locations. These numbers show how much you can take on and handle, which helps a company understand what you are capable of. Examples:

  • Motivated a team of X people to be the best performing sales department in the region
  • Managed a team of X employees in X countries around the world
  • Oversaw stores in X locations
  • Managed X properties
Customer satisfaction and issue solving

Happy customers are return customers, so it’s great when you can show that you can make customers happy. Examples:

  • Decreased support ticket resolution time by 80%
  • Increased average online reviews from 3.5 stars to 4.5 stars
  • Increase customer satisfaction levels by 30%

You can get very granular with numbers when working with them, quantifying how much a particular project increased website visits, saved labour hours, or improved efficiencies. This can be done with pretty much any job in any sector. Take doctors, for example. The Physician Career Network gives the following example for a doctor on a psychiatric unit: “Shortened average lengths of stay by 2.3 days across diagnoses. By improving follow-up, decreased recidivism of substance abuse patients by 8.5%.”

Percentages vs straight numbers

Note that some numbers look better as numbers, while others look better as percentages. The general rule here is that smaller increases look better as percentages. If you improve newsletter subscribers from 10 to 12, that’s a 20% increase. And, obviously a 20% increase sounds more impressive than an increase of 2 people. On the other hand, an increase in sales from 1,000,000 to 1,350,000 is an increase of 35%. And many people would probably agree that a $350,000 increase in revenue sounds better than a 35% increase in sales.

The story behind the numbers

Other things to keep in mind are that it’s not just about the numbers but the issue you solved and the steps you took to get there – the story behind the numbers. You might say that you “implemented a software solution that decreased clerical accounting errors by 60% and reduced KPI reporting time by 6 hours a week.”

And, in some cases, you clearly can’t claim full credit for things like improving online review scores, customer satisfaction levels, or the success of an entire department, but you can show how your involvement was valuable. Don’t exaggerate or make claims your references won’t support when asked.

The better you can demonstrate your value, the more attractive you will be as a potential hire.

How to advance your career in 2021

Most Canadians say they have no resolutions for 2021 (but you should make this one)